Top 10 Albums of 2012

Before I get into it let’s just clear the air. Yes I do love the new Van-Halen album, but no it is not on this list. Why you ask? Because, 80% of the album was written in between 1976-1979 and because of that there is no proof that they are a cohesive unit capable of making great music in today’s era. The album is sensational, Eddie’s playing is Frelling out of this world and yes the album is amazing and probably a contender for the album of the year, however because of circumstances I can not in good conscience add it to this list filled with a lot of other contemporaries of the band that are still writing new material in the 21st century that is just as amazing as their 70’s and 80’s output! With that said…

“Let’s Get It On!!”

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10.) UFO – Seven Deadly

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For reasons that nobody can quite comprehend UFO never really caught on with the American record buying rock fans. Here in the States they are the kind of band that you either love them or you can’t name one of their songs, but yet any rock fan who knows anything about anything has them in the top 10 rock bands of all time! In the 70′s guitar God Michael Schenker (former scorpions) took the band to the heights of rock greatness and in the 80′s his replacement, guitar virtuoso Paul Chapman helped them reach their creative peak.

Today UFO is still going strong, making great music and touring the world and have recently released their latest album “Seven Deadly”, their fourth with guitarist Vinnie Moore who joined the band in 2004. The one thing that sets Vinnie Moore apart from his predecessors is his bluesy style which has been for me both a blessing and a curse for the band. Moores bluesy style has infused a new sound into the music and made it fresh, but at the same time because of that I have felt that the songs lost that unique UFO style and flair I was accustomed to.With “Seven Deadly” I am happy to say that the team of Mogg and Moore have reconciled this issue and created an album that takes Moores blues rock style and incorporates it almost flawlessly into the classic UFO sound.

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9.) Black Country Communion –  Afterglow

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With the release of their third album (in quick succession I may add), Black Country Communion prove to be more than a mere supergroup, but an actual band! Not only are they releasing albums quickly, but none of them seem rushed. They are all amazing in quality, great musicianship, solid songwriting and amazing production by Kevin Shirley. Not only that but Afterglow is in my opinion their best work yet. Solid retro rock (Zepplin meets Deep Purple) with a bit of funk!

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8.) Jack Blades – Rock’N’Roll Ride

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Straight off the heels Night Rangers 2011 sensation “Somewhere in California”, Jack Blades wastes no time getting back in the studio, this time for his new solo album “Rock’n’Roll Ride” and the outcome is just as sensational! Some of the songs are in the same vein as “Somewhere in California” and may have been written in the same sessions, but nevertheless this is some great Rock and Roll music!!

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7.) Jeff Scott Soto – “Damage Control”

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This was one of the year’s biggest shockers! JSS is one of the best in the business, an amazing vocalist who I would match against just about anybody in the rock world. That being said, “Damage Control” might be the best thing he has ever done!! The songs are just amazing and not a clunker in the bunch!

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6.) Richard Marx – “Inside My Head”

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In all honesty, I may have placed this album a bit higher than it actually should be, however it has been very personal album for me. It was just one of those albums that came out at the perfect moment in my life and got me out of a major funk I was in. A typical Richard Marx album, he knows what he is good at and he sticks to it. He is a great songwriter and this album is filled with them. Soft Rock? Definitely. But pretty great soft rock and food for heartbreak. Definitely a mood album, but I put it here and I am sticking to it!!!

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5.) Eclipse – “Bleed and Scream”

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Holy Shit! This album frelling rocks!! Erik Martenssen (Lead Singer, guitarist and main songwriter) is a busy man. Between Eclipse, W.E.T. , and writing, recording and producing with a bunch of other artists (Including last years album of the year winner Toby Hitchcock) I don’t know how this guy finds time to wipe his butt! He is definitely the most talented person to come along in the past decade. He can do it all and the new Eclipse album is proof. “Bleed and Scream” is Eclipse’s third album and they just keep getting better and better!! Everything from the songwriting to the production to the musicianship is outstanding and not only that, THIS ALBUM FRELLING ROCKS!!!!

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4.) Jimi Jamison – “Never Too Late”

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And speaking of Erik Martensson…  guess who Wrote, Produced and plays guitar, bass, keyboards and provides backing vocals on this gem? That’s right folks, the busiest man in music! Being so impressed with what Eric did on Toby Hitchcock’s debut solo album “Mercury Down”, Erik was asked by Jimi Jamison to work his magic on Jimi’s new album and the result is more amazingness!! The past few years have seen quit an output from Jimi. Since he split from Survivor he went from putting out one album in 10 years to the past few years putting out or being involved in about 2 albums per year! He is in the midst of a rebirth and “Never Too Late” is an album not to be missed!!!

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3.) Rick Springfield – “Songs For The End Of The World”

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I will never for the life of me figure out why the hell Rick Springfield gets such a bad rap in America! This guy is an amazing talent! An amazing and versatile songwriter who really knows how to keep with the times while still being true to himself. After all the years the guy just keeps getting better and better (and looks pretty frelling amazing for a 62 year old!!) “Songs For the End of the World” is a masterpiece and you should run out and buy it right now!!

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2.) Nightwish – “Imaginarium”

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Nightwish took a huge risk with this album and it payed off big time! A lot of people have described a lot of albums as Epic, but Nightwish’s “Imaginarium” is the  only one deserving of the word. In all my life I have never heard anything like it! A Cinematic Symphony that has taken me on such and epic journey from beginning to end!

“Imaginarium” is epic in it’s undertaking; a concept album whose basis is scary fairy-tails and bedtime stories which basically come together to create one story and take the listener on a journey. Put together by the bands driving creative force and keyboard player Tuomas Holopainen the album moves as an individual story and each track being part of a complete soundtrack. In fact if you splurge for the two disc version you get a second disc with a complete instrumental version of the album which gives the cinematic feel of the mind even greater depth.

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1.) Pride of Lion’s – “Immortal”

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I said it before and I will say it again… “GREATEST ALBUM IN MUSIC HISTORY!!” This album has been out for about 7 months and in that span I have already listened to this album from beginning to end more than I have listened to any other album in all my life!

Words cannot describe how incredible this album is! As a diehard fan of all things Jim Peterik expectations were very high for this album. The man is an amazing and very versatile songwriter and no matter who or what he is writing for always brings his A game whether it be Survivor, Pride of Lions, solo Work, Ides of March, or any other artists. Pride of Lion’s however is in a league of it’s own.

Mister Jim Peterik has gone above and beyond with the latest Pride of Lion’s Masterpiece “Immortal” and produced some of the greatest songs not only of his amazing career but of all time and the Unnaturally talented voice of Mr. Toby Hitchcock has brought them to life in a way that doesn’t even seem possible! However, credit must also be given to the players composing the Pride of Lion’s band as the musicianship as always is top notch and I would expect noting less!

With “Immortal” Pride of Lion’s has created what I believe to be the greatest album of ALL TIME!!! It Speaks to the hearts and makes me not only want to better myself but makes me want to better the world!

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Coming soon!! Top 15 songs of 2012!!

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